The national government has allocated Sh3 billion to lay ICT infrastructure for 379 public hospitals in the country.
Subsequently, Sh1.2 billion has so far been spent to fix the infrastructure at 50 hospitals spread across the country, while others were at different levels of completion.
ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng said the initiative targets to enhance quality of medical care by introducing telemedicine in the country.
Ochieng said through use of technology, interface doctors and health workers at different levels will be able to interact at the click of a button and share patient’s information for quick interventions.
Speaking at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu Saturday, the PS said electronic health (E-Health) was the new frontier in offering quality medical services, while calling for partnerships between the national and county government to make it a reality.
“The benefits of telemedicine cannot be underestimated. This is going to enhance efficiency in service delivery by limiting time wasted in movement of papers from one unit to the other,” he said.
The interconnected Hospital Management System, he said, will make the referral system at national and county levels to work given the quick sharing of information for effective case management.
The PS who toured JOOTRH to inspect ongoing works for the project assured members of the public that information shared through the system will remain confidential and duly protected.
“Data protection is very key. Recently we passed the data protection act which guarantees the safety of all data collected in the country,” he said.
He added that through the act, medical records are classified as personal data, which has a higher threshold in terms of protection.
“All receivers of this information are bound by the act to ensure that it is protected,” said the PS.
JOOTRH Chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Okoth said the project was 70% complete, adding that once fully operational, it will ease communication between the facility, county and sub-county hospitalS in the area.
“We are going to have images and reports transported to doctors wherever they are so that as they come to the facility they already know what awaits them,” he said.
Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o said the development was key in helping the county to realize Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“To achieve UHC, electronic health records are key. This is important to ensure that the referral system works seamlessly,” he said.
The county government will seek to partner with the Ministry of ICT to ensure that the system is fully operational at all health facilities in the area, added Prof. Nyong’o.
By Chris Mahandara